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Saturday, March 1, 2008

Chinese New Year At Chai Chee

Chinese New Year then was subdued. There was no fire crackers to welcome the new year. Children and adults had no new clothes and shoes to put on as time was hard.
Re-union dinner was confined to family members within the house. There was no visitors as public transport was scarce. Furthermore, our friends and relatives were scattered in different parts of the island. There was no ang pow for the children. We lived in fear as there was rumour of Japanese atrocities in other parts of Singapore.

Chinese New Year In Early
Post War Years

Preparation started in earnest a few days before the Chinese New Year. Children and adults had their hair cut. Parents bought new shoes for the children to visit relatives and friends. Fire crackers came in two sizes. The big ones, red in colour came in a square packet. The small ones, red and green in colours came in a rectangular box. The noise of fire crackers could be heard a few days before the new year. It became more intense as the festival drew nearer. The din of the crackers continued to the end of the festival. On the last day, just before midnight there was heavy firing of crackers on the road. Shops in the neighbourhood challenged one another to show off. The road was filled with thick smoke caused by the fire crackers and motor vehicles had to move very slowly to avoid accident and fires. When the firing of crackers stopped, the neighbourhood was extremely quiet. The road was carpeted with red papers from the crackers. But, the festivity went on with friends and neighbours gathering inside the house to gamble.


Thimbuktu said...

Your blog on "Chinese New Year In Early Post War Years" is even more memorable than what I wrote about “CHAP GOH MEH” Celebration at Havelock Road in 1958 in my guest blog at Lam Chun See's "Good Morning Yesterday" blogsite at

The fall of Singapore to the Japanese army on February 15th, 1942 was on the first day of the Chinese New Year. The fighting in Singapore lasted from February 7, 1942 to February 15, 1942.

It must have been the unhappiest Chinese New Year for Singaporean Chinese during the war period. There was no celebration to talk about. People were just wondering whether they would survive the war years.

Lets pray that such human treachery in history will not be repeated.

PChew said...

Thanks for passing this way. It's an experience that none wants to go through it once more.